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Pennsylvania school district to settle wrongful termination suit

The Governor Mifflin School District has agreed to pay a board member $200,000 to settle a wrongful termination claim. The board member in return has agreed to drop all of her legal claims and resign from the district's school board. The settlement means that the board member cannot take further legal actions against the district nor will she be allowed to work for the district in the future. She is also not allowed to run for the school board elections for seven years.

If not for a request by local media under the Right-to-Know law details of the settlement would not be available. The school board member was elected to the board after she had been fired from her position with the school district. She was employed as the manager of the school district's technology department with an annual salary $91,000. She was fired after being accused of accessing private documents involving the school's district's superintendent at the time. Other accusations of breaching district policy were also made.

The board member said she accessed the files because she was acting under subpoena. She claimed she was fired for being friendly with another former employee who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the district. She testified on behalf of that employee in 2009. After the woman was fired, she filed charges against the school district with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and filed a wrongful termination suit in federal court.

When an employee feels he or she may have been illegally retaliated against for either reporting or testifying against an employer suspected of wrongdoing, there are remedies available to that employee. In addition to making formal complaints to state and federal agencies an employee may want to consider consulting an employment law attorney to learn their rights and steps they can take to protect those rights in the face of adverse treatment by an employer.

Reading Eagle, "Ex-Mifflin director got $200,000 to drop suit, resign," Liam Migdail-Smith, Feb. 16, 2013

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